Keith, Laura and Me

I’m writing to you from the other side of the retirement divide. Over the past year I have been learning how to be “retired.” This has involved classes at the YMCA and coffee with my yoga friends. One day a week I become a happy bookseller at the famous Parnassus Books in Nashville.

And so this brings me to books and reading. That’s why I am writing to you. The Reading Life is the true life, regardless of age. I plan occasionally to tell you about my reading and about books being enjoyed by others.

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Keith, Laura, and Me

Laura Bush and I are one year apart in age. Her autobiography, Spoken from the Heart (Scribner, 2010), was especially interesting to me because, as the public library director, I met her when she visited Nashville, and found her to be an engaging person. When I read about her girlhood, I was surprised by the commonalities in our growing up.  I know that Medford, Texas is a long way from my upstate New York locale, but we were both raised in the 50’s, attended college in the 60’s, and there is a distinct stamp to those times. From remembering the arrival of the first television in the household to dances in the school gymnasium—these were all familiar experiences. She describes her college days, and makes note of dorm curfews and wearing skirts to class. There were serious matters such as the Civil Rights Movement and the assassination of President Kennedy. And playing in the background, the music was revolutionary.

Along with Bob Dylan and the Beatles, there were the Rolling Stones. I remember the thrill of seeing the band at Vanderbilt in the ‘90’s during their Voodoo Lounge Tour, the energy of the performance bringing back memories of my salad days. I hesitated before I read Keith Richards’ autobiography Life (Little, Brown and Co., 2010). Did I want to read about his drug-filled, crazy life? I’m so glad I picked it up—it was terrific! Richards deeply loves his music, describing how as a teen, he spent hours listening to records by the blues masters to learn how they produced their chords. He tells how he and Mick Jagger had to learn the art of songwriting to provide new material for their band. He still speaks with pride about the unique guitar fingering he used to create the famous Rolling Stone sound.  Throughout the book, Richards displays a keen sense of the unbelievable life they were leading. He knew they were making it up as they went along. It’s a tale worth reading.

These books are available at your public library and at Parnassus Books, Nashville

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8 comments on “Keith, Laura and Me

  1. Suzanne says:

    Very nice, descriptive write up! Congratulations on your first blog!

  2. Karen Werner says:

    So excited that you have a blog! It was wonderful. Congratulations!

  3. Ginger says:

    I’ve missed hearing your writing voice that came through in your musings about the library. I’m glad you have found your voice again.

  4. Elyse says:

    Loved reading this, Donna! I’m putting both titles on hold at the library.

  5. Susan says:

    I really enjoyed this – can’t wait to read more!

  6. Lorraine Arsenault says:

    I love the reading life and look forward to journeying through your choices. Interesting about Keith Richards. I might have had the same preconceived notions about what I might find in his autobiography. Thanks!

  7. Ann Roberts says:

    Your letters about reading have always been delightful, and I’ve always looked forward to them. Thanks for telling me about this new endeavor and for sharing your reading choices!

  8. It’s no longer just woman fans anymore! Thanks for sharing this with me.

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